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Working Professionally with Children and Youth in Care
CYC-Online Issue 74 MARCH 2005 / BACK
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Honoring our own: Mark Krueger, Tony Maciocia, Varda Mann-Feder and Karen VanderVen

David C. Thomas

The first generation of practitioners, theorists, and researchers in the field of child and youth care has been honored many times over the past two decades and longer. A list of the names of these pioneers reads like a roster of honored heroes: Fritz Redl; Henry W. Maier; Albert E. Trieschman; Larry K. Brendtro; Gisela Konopka; Morris Fritz Mayer; James K. Whittaker; Eva Burmeister; David Wineman; and Bruno Bettelheim. This is a personal list and I apologize in advance for omissions. As imperfect, incomplete, and controversial as this list legitimately may seem to others, the names are widely recognized and generally accepted within the field. Together, these leaders of the field through the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s established the standards for compassion, the boundaries for rigorous thinking and research, and the examples of courage that defined the profession for us today They provided the services to children, youths, and families that we study today, they wrote the books that we still read and reference, they taught the classes and conference sessions that gave us the knowledge to begin our work, and they handed us the vision of how child and youth care could be better tomorrow.

The roster of leaders in the second generation is just now being assembled. Because most of these individuals are still very active in the field today, the list will be debated even more than the list of first generation leaders, and it will change over time. We are now recognizing those practitioners, authors, researchers, teachers, and leaders who shaped the profession of child and youth care practice during the 1970s and 1980s. There will be overlap, since some of the first-generation pioneers are still teaching, writing, and leading in the new millennium, but new names will appear as some drop away into history In addition, some members of the third generation have stepped forward during the 1990s and the first years of the new decade to provide leadership for the field. This list is even more tentative, since many of these practitioners have many years left in their careers, but it seems worthwhile to give recognition to a few who clearly belong on the roster.

The Association for Child and Youth Care Practice (ACYCP) recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of child and youth care through a very limited number of awards that are presented once every three years. The special awards are presented to individuals during the International Conference to highlight the work of a few child and youth care workers who have helped shape and define the field during their careers. Board Members and individuals who are involved with ACYCP make nominations. The final decisions about who receives the awards are made by The ACYCP Executive Committee. One award, the President’s Award, is decided by the current President of ACYCP. The individuals do not know that they have won until it is announced during a general session at the International Conference.

Last August at the Seventh International Child and Youth Care Conference in Victoria, British Columbia, ACYCP presented four awards. Two of these awards went to outstanding leaders of the second generation of child and youth care, Mark Krueger and Karen VanderVen. Two of them recognized the work of individuals who might be considered the vanguard of the third generation, Tony Maciocia and Varda Mann-Feder. All four individuals are still quite active today and each of them have made many important contributions to the field.

Mark A. Krueger, Ph.D., was a direct care youth worker for 11 years before he completed his doctorate and became the Director of the Youth Work Learning Center at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, where he is a professor and formerly was Chair of his academic department. His first textbook, Intervention Techniques for Child and Youth Care Workers, was followed by Careless to Caring for Troubled Youth, Choices in Caring (with Norman Powell), and Job Satisfaction for Child and Youth Care Workers. In a departure from the normal academic tradition in the field, Dr. Krueger also wrote novels (Floating and In Motion) and a book of short stories (Buckets) about child and youth care. He also has authored many landmark articles that have been published through the years. As the first Editor of the Journal of Child and Youth Care Work, he created a publication that has survived for decades while it has grown in size and sophistication. Dr. Krueger established a tradition of working with and encouraging new authors, especially direct care workers, who had not been published previously to submit their work to the Journal. He also broke with tradition when, as Editor, he published poetry short stories, and personal accounts about child and youth care work. He coordinated and strongly supported the International Conference that was held in Milwaukee in 1994, which brought together an extraordinarily large number of child and youth care workers from around the world, providing simultaneous translation of many of the sessions. He also served as the President of ACYCP (National Organization of Child Care Worker Associations at the time) for three years.

Mark Krueger has been a primary force in reconfiguring the profession of child and youth care work. His insistence on the value of direct care practice at all levels, in the journals, at conferences, in the board room, and in the team, guided the field away from the path of most professions, toward status and distance from the client. His work to internationalize child and youth care, to include families as central to our work, and to establish a positive youth development framework as the ethical base for the field have been crucial in moving child and youth care forward. Even today the Youth Work Learning Center, founded by Dr. Krueger, is a unique and influential model of how child and youth care workers can train, educate, and research. His insight and courage in writing in a personal voice through short stories and novels, and then later publishing other authors who did the same, gave a new dimension to the literature in the field, one that calls each of back to the central importance of the unique relationship between the youth and the worker.

Tony Maciocia is one of two Canadians who were given awards last year by ACYCP. There has been a long history of cooperation and collaboration between Canadian and American child and youth care workers, and many of the leaders of the field in the United States are Canadian citizens. Mr. Maciocia’s greatest contribution to the field of child and youth care work at a national and international level has been his coordination of the International Child and Youth Care Conferences for the past two decades, although he also has served as a Director of ACYCP most of that time, also. His vision for the international conferences has shaped these conferences and the field of child and youth care work far more than most of us recognize. Mr. Maciocia has not only ensured that the conferences occur every three years and that the conferences pay for themselves consistently he has injected a vision into the planning of each conference that has helped to move the field toward an international perspective. Over the years, he has scheduled main speakers and workshop leaders who have brought the voice of indigenous peoples into the mainstream of child and youth care thought and practice. He has ensured that the conferences encourage a wide diversity of views. He has included groups that often in the past have remained on the periphery of our attention in the field.

Varda Mann-Feder, D.Ed., is currently the Editor of the Journal of Child and Youth Care Work, following in the footsteps of the first two editors, Mark Krueger and Karen VanderVen. As Editor, Dr. Mann-Feder has expanded the size and scope of the Journal dramatically She has a vision for the Journal that inspires others to write, so the number of submissions to the Journal has rapidly grown during her tenure. She has changed the look and style of the publication, also, updating its image. Dr. Mann-Feder is the Chair of the Department of Applied Human Sciences at Concordia University in Montreal. She has been a full-time professor for 13 years. Before that, she worked as a consulting psychologist in residential care and for the juvenile court system. Her own research and many of her publications focus on the transition of youths out of care and into independent living. Dr. Mann-Feder is on the Executive Committee of the Quebec Association of Educateurs.

Dr. Karen VanderVen has been involved with child and youth work for over 40 years. Following many years of direct experience working with children, youth, and families in residential and group programs in several states, preschools and community mental health, she joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh where she is now Professor of Psychology in Education in the program in Applied Developmental Psychology (the former Program in Child Development and Child Care). Her interests include activity programming, positive practices in residential and group care, professionalization of child and youth work, and life span and intergenerational issues. Dr. VanderVen has served as Senior Visiting Fellow at the SEARCH Institute developing its Early Childhood Developmental Asset Framework and as a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Graduate School of Education focusing on child and youth development. She was a co-founder of FICE-North America (the International Federation of Educative Communities). Dr. VanderVen is the author of well over 200 professional publications, including books, monographs, invited chapters, articles and columns. Her internet column, "From the Soapbox” appears month on CYC-Net. She served as Editor of the Journal of Child and Youth Care Work, currently is an Associate Editor of the Child and Youth Care Forum, and she is on the Editorial Board of five other journals. A member of the Academy of Child and Youth Care Workers, Dr. VanderVen has received distinguished service awards from the Association for Child and Youth Care Practice, the National Organization of Child Care Worker Associations, and the Albert E. Trieschman Center. Dr. VanderVen has spoken and given workshops on child and youth work topics all over the world. Perhaps more than any other person, she has served as the ambassador to the rest of the world for the child and youth care work profession.

This feature: Thomas, D.C. (2004) Honoring our own: Mark Krueger, Tony Maciocia, Varda Mann-Feder, Karen Vanderven. Journal of Child and Youth Care Work Vol. 19. pp 9-12.

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